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In the year 1763, the Treaty of Paris was signed and the Seven Years War ended. While it was suppose to be a time of celebration, many problems were actually brewing under the surface. When the Seven Years War, Britain emerged victorious but they were also buried in debts that accumulated during the war. Weary and tired from the last war, Britain wanted to avoid any future conflicts with Indians and French and decreed the Royal Proclamation of 1763. Although this may seem like a simple solution, it also increased the costs of administering the colonies. The new prime minister, started noticing that American customs’ duties totaled to less than 1% of the estimated amount. To pay of their debts and increase tax revenues, Britain started to enforce their laws stricter and increased taxes.
Although it seemed reasonable for the Thirteen Colonies to contribute and pay off their Mother country’s debts, the colonists thoughts differed. During the Seven Years War the colonists believed that Britain did not provide enough military support and left the colonists to fend for themselves during the war. However, Britain suddenly decided to enforce their laws and taxes after the war when the colonists were struggling with their own debts. The British, however, thought differently on the matter because they had a bigger tax burden. Although American colonists had a low tax burden, but they continued to protest led to different views on taxation. This leads to Americans and Britons on two separate paths which would lead to a future collision.
In 1765, Britain was still trying to raise a sum to station an army in North America and so they decided to pass the Stamp Act. However soon after the Stamp Act was passed, American colonists reacted with violent protests. riots, and collectors were forced to resign. Colonists believed their actions were justified behind, “No taxation without Representation”. They believed their colonial assembly was similar to the Parliament because they were represented and already had to pay taxes. But now the British Government also wants them to added another tax on top of that? In addition, they believed it was unrepresentative tax? Of course they didn’t want to, and so they fought back fiercely. The British Government had different thoughts however. They argued that the colonists were able to “enjoy” the luxurious choice of having a representation, but the other British subjects did not. Why should American colonists be treated differently from other British subjects? There’s other Britons who doesn’t have a say in the Parliament, but they weren’t opposing the Stamp Act. Despite the British Government’s arguments, they later repealed the Stamp Act, but it only subdued the protests for a while.
When the Townshend Act was passed, it was a bit different compared to the Stamp Act. Before the Stamp Act was repealed, American colonists would argue about how it was a “direct tax”. Therefore Britain believed that American colonists would not be able to argue when they taxed imported goods. Because surely imported goods are not a direct tax, right? Wrong, Americans believed that Britain had any rights over taxing the colonies, and they felt like taxation was an abuse of power. Afterwards, the colonists decided to do something about it, they didn’t want to give in to the tax. And so many colonists boycotted the Townshend Act which led to 50% decrease in imported good from Britain. Again, in 1770, Britain repealed all of the Townshend Acts… except for tea. This was because Britain wanted to show that they still had the power to tax the colonies. Because of the repeal, it also led to a truce between the two parties for a period of time.
One of the events that renewed the resistance throughout the American colonists was the Tea Act. When Britain first passed the Tea Act, they didn’t believe it would create any conflicts. Why would American colonists protest lower priced tea? The Tea Act didn’t even raise new taxes, instead it was to help the East India Company financially. Although the tea was cheaper, many American colonists believed that it taxation tyranny. They believed it was unfair how local merchants can not compete with the undercut prices. The colonists would then protest and refused to let the tea unload onto the docks and would force the ship back to Britain. However, the Royal Governor refused to give in and left the ship at the docks. This not only led to the Boston Tea Party, but angered the British Government.
Due to the Boston Tea Party, the British Government wanted to punish the American colonist’s disobedience. Britain believed if they closed the port in Boston, then it would prevent the colonies from unifying and resisting Britain’s rule. They also thought that the colonies would abandon Boston and go back under Britain’s rule. However, it led to the opposite effect, and rushed to Boston’s aid, and discussed about Britain’s actions towards the colonies.
Finally, both sides believed that negotiations couldn’t be made and the Revolutionary War began. Although both sides had their faults, it was mainly because of miscommunication between both parties. If they were to think about the other person’s circumstances then the Revolutionary War could’ve been avoided. However, the two views were too different, for the Thirteen Colonies wanted freedom as Englishmen while Britain wanted to contain them under the Crown’s rules and limitations.
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